[NetBehaviour] any thoughts about "Comedian"?

Paul Hertz ignotus at gmail.com
Wed Dec 11 19:17:55 CET 2019

Well, Michael, I have mostly been bored by the whole spectacle and
generally avoiding the spate of memes it generated.

As for what I think: Cattelan is staging his critique within the very
system he is critiquing. I submit that this deserves some respect, if not
applause. Andrea Fraser's interventions perform a similar "community
service," but her metaphors and texts tend to be much more explicit. Ironic
humor permeates the work of both artists, but Fraser uses humor as a
Brechtian displacement, an estrangement of the audience. Cattelan's ironies
are those of the dandy. Arguably, Duchamp's ironies are those of the dandy,
too, but the capacity for scandal and for rupture was much greater when he
choose to make his gestures. We cannot conceive of Cattelan's action
producing a rupture, but we can conceive of them reproducing Duchamp.
Therein lies their weakness. The ironies of the dandy end up as mockery, or
worse yet, as fashion (or memes 8^}=). The ideologically inflected ironies
of an artist such as Fraser may also fall flat, quite possibly because they
insist on taking themselves seriously even if we do not. If we do take them
seriously, though, we may discover that their bite is sharp as their bark.
Cattelan seems to me to offer mucho bark for mushy bite.

-- Paul

On Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 9:40 AM Michael Szpakowski <m at michaelszpakowski.org>

> Well put. I find myself agreeing pretty much completely with you Patrick
> but just to say further: Is this all there is? Is anyone else not just a
> little *bored*?
> cheers
> Michael
> On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 12:01:26 PM GMT, Patrick Lichty <
> lists at voyd.com> wrote:
> Mainly, this is Cattelan in fine form. Taking the Duchampian approach to
> the art market is fine, except for the sales amount.
> In some ways, the gesture is a bit of a problem based on this, but on the
> other hand, perhaps Cattelan nails the critique in doing so.
> Dan Detuna's eating of the banana was good but expected, and the scrawl
> about Epstein just seemed purely tactical.
> The iterations of derivatives is amusing, but in so doing, I think that it
> shows the frustrations about the art world, its level of
> hypercapitalization, hyperprofessionalism, hypermarketing, and in my
> opinion, I feel it is a harbinger of a correction in the next few years if
> not sooner.
> Good on Cattelan for showing the Emperor's clothes, and selling them to
> him. It was a good Duchampian crit on the current state of the art world.
> And don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with selling art, but as
> Lovink's new anthology on design states, and Schnayer's book, Boom both
> talk about is that the art world have changed so much in the past 15 years,
> and I share Marc's differences regarding the dominance of the neoliberal
> influence in it.  As some of my students tell me, their first impulse is to
> shape their practices to the market even before their vision is formed.  I
> find this perverse.
> I don't think the canary in the coal mine will shut it down as long as the
> bosses figure there is still coal to mine.
> And maybe this is a bad metaphor; perhaps we should urge shutting down the
> coal mine in favor of sustainable and renewable models.
> Just metaphors.
> On Tue, 10 Dec 2019 18:21:35 +0000, Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm wondering if this art work can be mapped usefully or helpfully by a
> network hypothesis, as I'm trying to do vis-a-vis the Mona Lisa in "The
> Work of Art in the Age of Network Reproduction."
> It does seem that the work is fundamentally designed to create ripples
> across media networks and society, in myriad forms like conversation,
> criticism, tweets, selfies, high-fives, etc.  Maybe the price is designed
> to give the artist three years of living expenses.  The duct tape
> represents the cheapest and most obvious way to "affix" an object to a
> location ( or as Stevens says, "let the lamp affix its beam").
> Bananas represent empire, colonialism, and injustice (as in a banana
> republic), mass consumption, food networks, deforestation, racism (as when
> thrown onto football pitches), phallocentrism, poverty, etc.
> When a banana is opened and consumed, you have a waste product -- a peel.
> When someone steps on a peel and slips, that's a system intervention of a
> comic sort (though it's also a huge danger of severe brain injury).  Comedy
> is a staged performance where conflict and danger are resolved peacefully,
> without death as in the case of tragedy, with the participants laughing and
> feeling relief, a rescue from disaster and absolution from the guilt of
> unacknowledged wrongdoing.  Comedians are people who try to make comedy,
> not just the ones who succeed.
> Has this all already been said?  Maybe so!  Does it relate to "Distant
> Feelings"?  I think there is a correlation that reflects very well on
> Abrahams' work.  It's not so much the object, but the network flow in time
> in which the process indicated by the object occurs and has or doesn't have
> influence.  I think it also relates to the Mona Lisa, in that Leonardo is
> also hoping to help make better possible futures more possible.
> Best regards,
> Max
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